When O'Learys founder, Jonas Reinholdsson, came to Boston and Nantucket as a teenager, he had no idea what was coming his way. Not only did he meet Anne O'Leary, the love of his life and the namesake for his future business, but his American-bred idea caught on like wildfire in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. In 1988, Reinholdsson opened his first O’Learys, an American-style sports bar, which quickly grew into 130+ FECs, sports pubs, and event spaces worldwide.
Fast-forward to June 2023, and O'Learys’ story is still going strong. With robust franchise growth and corporately held locations, Reinholdsson merged with the Swedish firm JJL Group. Founded in 2005 and led by Jesper Liedstrand, president, and his partner, Marcus
Smith, vice president, JJL Group operates, manages, and invests in entertainment centers, restaurants, and hotels. JJL Group’s mission is to create relaxed, social environments where guests enjoy food and beverage, live events, and activities for all ages. Their spaces encourage customers to meet, socialize, and create memories together. They currently manage nine O’Learys units with more locations in the works. O’Learys in Linköping offers a wide variety of attractions, including black-light mini-golf, laser tag, karaoke, ten lanes of bowling, Bank Shot (a game combining shuffleboard and billiards), darts, an arcade, pool tables, a casino, and a restaurant with a seating capacity of 350. Food and beverage comprise 78% of the revenue at O’Learys Linköping, with bowling coming in next.
An interesting feature of O’Learys business model may be the mini-casino operating in some of the franchises. With blackjack tables and roulette, the casino at Linköping has a maximum wager of 250 Swedish Krona (USD 20.00) and provides more of an entertainment experience than serious gambling.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, open-mic karaoke is very popular. From 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., the karaoke spaces open up to a brand-new dance floor called the Schlager Club, where they spin disco and Schlager songs — a style of European popular music that is a catchy instrumental accompaniment to vocal pieces of pop music with simple, happy-go-lucky, and often sentimental lyrics. The JJL Group are focused on growth: in June, the group announced plans to install their largest O’Learys to date in the Linden shopping mall in the city of Norrköping, a gigantic facility scheduled to open in the summer of 2024.
Thank you to Pauline Wallander, project marketing manager, and Robin Lundgren, operations manager, for their valuable input to this story.