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When storm cuts power, Duffy’s comps meals for patrons

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

A Cape Coral eatery comped thousands of dollars in tabs on the night of the recent tornado.

Duffy’s Sports Grill of Cape Coral, at 627 W. Cape Coral Parkway, had a packed house on Jan. 9 when a tornado touched down at about 6:45 p.m. in the area of Beach Parkway, between Pelican Boulevard and Sands Boulevard. Assistant General Manager Jason Torres stated that the main restaurant was full.

“We had a pretty busy evening going on,” he said Tuesday. “We had the club open, as well.”

When the storm hit, the business lost power briefly. It then lost power completely.

“Everything was frozen up,” Torres said of the computer system.

Staffers tried to keep customers as safe as possible.

“We pulled everybody off the patio,” he said.

After about 25 minutes, the managers realized that the power was not coming back on.

“We gave people the option to leave without paying,” Torres said.

About 300 people were being served at the time.

“We felt it was the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m sure people were worried about their homes.”

Staffers helped people to their vehicles in the rain, attempting to ensure everyone’s safety.

In the end, Duffy’s comped approximately $5,000 worth of food and drinks.

“The response from the patrons was really positive,” Torres said.

“I’ve had guests come in and thank us,” he said.

A 30-person party at the restaurant even wrote up an appreciative review online.

“The staff did such a great job, we also took care of them the best we could,” Torres said.

The eatery tried to compensate its staff for anything in the system.

“I think some people left cash tips on the tables for the servers,” he said.

Torres also applauded the patrons for staying calm and sitting tight.

“I think everybody’s phones kind of went off at once,” he said, referring to the emergency weather alerts on phones. “We had received messages that there was some heavy damage in the area.”

Torres noted that Duffy’s made it through the storm without any major damage.

“We were fortunate,” he said.

“We lost power and we may have lost a little bit of money, but we felt it was a public service to make sure everybody was safe,” Torres added.