Case Studies

How the CFO of Lake Elsinore Storm gained more control over labor costs

By Gustav Anderson

Oct. 28, 2021

 

In Lake Elsinore, California, America’s pastime is very much alive and well. 

The Storm, a minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres, host roughly 6,000 people at their stadium for every game. While the on-field performances are undoubtedly impressive, there is even more happening off the field that translates to success on game day. No matter the team record or the outcome of each game, the fan experience always goes undefeated. 

The person who understands this best is the team’s chief financial officer, Christine Kavic. 

“The big difference between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball is that we rely 100% on our fans. If our fans are not coming to our stadium and having a good time … we can’t keep our doors open,” remarks Kavic. 

Kavic oversees all financial, administrative and HR matters across multiple businesses for the Lake Elsinore Storm, including overwhelmingly fan-favorite entities like concessions and the in-stadium restaurant. 

“I am the last step before payroll is processed … I take pride in avoiding errors when dealing with people’s money .. [errors] end up potentially being costly for an organization, so it’s really important to make sure that we’re doing everything that we need to do to finalize those time cards and process payroll.”

Needless to say, Kavic has a lot on her plate. 


CHALLENGE

Prior to Workforce.com, the sheer amount of financial and administrative responsibility proved difficult for Kavic to manage at times. Moreover, pandemic restrictions were lifting, bringing fans back to games in droves. 

Going into 2021, Kavic knew the team had to make a change. 

“One of the biggest challenges was the visibility and real-time cost in comparison to our sales within food and beverage. That’s a huge component,” reflects Kavic. “The ability to gauge at any given moment where we’re at for sales versus labor cost was extremely important when I was searching for what we could use.”

In addition, Kavic struggled with staffing and cash flow visibility. “We’re five separate entities. At least four of those entities are operating at one time … So it’s really important that I have the ability to view our staffing in one place and the ability to look at sales that are coming in … there’s a lot of different places that I’m looking at to make sure our per cap on a daily basis is where it needs to be.”

Since labor costs were difficult to predict due to varying pay differentials and overtime, it was hard for teams to stick to their budgets and create accurate cash flow projections. Because of these issues, Kavic could not accurately adjust her workforce in necessary ways to minimize wasteful spending and maximize positive fan experience.


SOLUTION

Kavic partnered with Workforce.com so she could staff based on demand, track labor costs and sales, easily export timesheets to payroll, and most importantly, have everything take place in real-time on a single platform.

“The moment that I began to view demos, I could instantly tell that the relationship was going to be one that I was looking for,” says Kavic regarding her seamless implementation experience. 

The scheduling and time and attendance capabilities of Workforce.com provide Kavic the transparency she needs to control all her labor costs and keep her teams on budget. Integrating with both the Storm’s payroll and POS systems, Workforce.com gives extremely detailed insight into valuable cash flow and staffing metrics across all businesses operating within the stadium. 


RESULTS

With Workforce.com, Kavic can now manage her labor costs and cash flows efficiently, ensuring more time is invested into cultivating the best experience for fans on game day. Here are some of the specific ways in which Kavic benefits from the software:

Teams stick to their budgets

“The ability to create many different teams, the ability to break down the departments as much as possible, is extremely important,” states Kavic concerning the six distinct team locations she has set up within the new system. With them in place, the multi-entity structure of the Storm becomes much simpler to handle. Kavic can make sure team managers stay on budget now with the ability to break down labor costs by team, by week, and even by individual. This clarity allows her to pinpoint overspending issues wherever present.  

Cashflow projections are more accurate than ever

With POS system integration, projecting cashflows is simple and accurate. Now with one click, Kavic can view digestible reports and metrics that provide insight into key financial details. 

“We’re able to go as deep as looking at how much revenue our four top servers are bringing in and how much the labor costs are specific to those four top servers. So [Workforce.com] really gives us the ability to dive deep into individual revenue and labor costs.”

Error-free payroll

Workforce.com calculates the cost of shifts according to respective locations and minimum wage and overtime rules. There is no manual data entry and no human errors, meaning no more expensive errors while verifying payroll. 

“One of the reasons that Workforce.com definitely stood out to me was the ease of payroll export … I wanted to press a button and it was miraculous,” says a beaming Kavic. 

Staying compliant with wage and hour laws

Workforce.com ensures labor compliance by automatically scheduling breaks and calculating overtime rates that meet regional legal requirements. With these features, Kavic can quickly address potential labor violations and avoid costly penalties. 

Scheduling based on expected demand

With POS integration, all sales numbers are reflected in Workforce.com, allowing Kavic to easily staff based on historic demand. This cost-effective scheduling optimizes the Storm’s workforce, ensuring the correct number of employees are working at the right time, day, and place.


With all of these staffing tools and capabilities at her fingertips, Kavic believes the Storm now functions better than ever. “Without Workforce.com, we could not do what we do best, and that’s entertain the community. I can’t imagine why another CFO wouldn’t utilize Workforce.com … it feels like I’ve got another employee.” 

Success is about more than simply on-field performance for a minor league baseball team. Kavic and the Storm understand this; they enjoy strong support from a thoroughly entertained community as a result. 

 

Gustav is a communications officer with Workforce.com. His past work includes media outreach for a Guinness World Record team and market research published by the University of Maine. He has a keen interest in storytelling, frontline labor issues, and all things relating to pigeons.

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