Top 8 Companies That Make Money Unexpectedly

Usually, it’s easy to know how a business makes money. The Baker ? He makes money on his bread. The shoemaker ? He pays himself by repairing shoes. The insurance salesman? In short, you got it. Besides that, there are exceptions. Companies that make their money in unexpected, and mostly slightly counter-intuitive, ways. We make you discover this in joy and good humor.

1. McDonald’s doesn’t make money selling burgers.

I know what you’re thinking: “BUT THIS IS THE ONLY THING MCDONALD’S DOES!! », and yet I see myself obliged to contradict you. McDonald’s mostly makes money by being a smart owner. The company has bought lots of buildings in strategic places, and when a person wants to open a McDonald’s franchise, he has to rent one of these places to open his restaurant. The rental money therefore goes into the company’s pocket. McDo therefore earns more thanks to its rents than thanks to the commissions it receives on the sale of burgers. You have to admit, that’s super smart.

2. The Empire State Building makes more money from visitors than from rent

The Empire State Building, in addition to being pretty, is above all a big tower that serves to make money by renting offices. Except that the rental does not bring enough to the owners of the skyscraper, and that’s a shame. But don’t worry about them, they have found another way to fill the coffers well: selling tickets at exorbitant prices to admire the view from the heights of the tower. In terms of prices, it ranges from around forty euros to almost 90 bucks for the highest point, as much to tell you that there is money.

3. American Airlines is losing money on its flights but making money with its loyalty program

The American airline, like others, is flying at a loss. The cost of the flights is not offset by the purchase price of the tickets. On the other hand, their loyalty program based on “miles” is very, very profitable. It seems inconsistent, since the company gives loyalty benefits to customers, like free flights, and yet it pays off. Why ? Because it is outside companies that finance these miles: they have everything to gain by partnering with the airline to attract its customers, so they are putting their hands in their pockets. In short, American Airlines, like other airlines, is mainly financed by other companies.

4. Duolingo funded itself by turning users into translators

The app that teaches us to speak other languages ​​was free when it was launched. But where Duolingo was making headway was by offering very specific exercises to users who had already made good progress in the program: it made them translate texts into a foreign language. And afterwards, he resold these translations to the companies that had provided the texts to be translated. These companies could, for example, be information sites that needed a large mass of translators to offer international visibility to their content. Duolingo made us work for him for free. It’s ugly, but that’s how it was before the app became paid.

5. Large football transfers are mainly reimbursed on the sale of jerseys

Do you think the big clubs spend one (or even two) hundred million euros for a player just for the pleasure of seeing him score goals? Well, there’s a bit of that too, but it’s mainly that the player will allow the club to sell a maximum of shirts and tickets for matches. Because yes, people want to wear the name of a star player on their back, and they are willing to pay dearly to see him evolve on the pitch. Football is above all marketing.

6. Amazon is only profitable through its web services

If Amazon only did e-commerce, it wouldn’t make enough money or be forced to inflate its prices to stay afloat. What allows the giant to be profitable is Amazon Web Services. Basically, it’s full of services mainly focused around the cloud. This means that Amazon has huge server centers to host third-party sites for a fee. AWS also does data analysis, app management, computing, and other useful stuff that earns it tons of money (like nearly $60 billion a year). Always put your eggs in several baskets.

7. Star Wars films are much more profitable in merchandise than in theatrical release

The Star Wars saga is very profitable in the cinema, since it had already garnered 9 billion in revenue before the release of the ninth episode, which is quite simply a record. It’s certainly huge, but it’s not even what brings in the most money. The biggest profits that Star Wars generates are with its derivative products, such as toys and figurines. There, we are rather of the order of 30 billion dollars in revenue. Three times more than the money of the cinema, then. It makes money.

8. Topito earns money by taking bribes from the raclette lobby

Do you think we make thousands of tops on the raclette for fun? No, it’s exclusively because that’s what allows us to earn our living. The raclette lobby is showering us with millions, so we’re not going to deprive ourselves.

Topito legende vanne raclette
Picture credits: Topito

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