Last week my wife and I were invited to a surprise birthday dinner for four at the Culinary Center in Canandaigua. We have eaten there before and my friend, whose birthday it was, is a big fan of the establishment. As the reservation was made over a month ahead, we called the restaurant the day before in order to confirm the reservation. To our shock, not only did they not have the reservation but the second-floor restaurant was scheduled to be closed so that a charity benefit could take place on the first floor. What do we do now?

To our amazement, the new manager promptly called us back with a selection of solutions. A selection? Worst case I would have expected them to only apologize. Another restaurant may have gone above and beyond by issuing a small gift certificate. Instead, to keep their company's reputation high with us, they offered choices that could only result in a positive outcome.

The manager said that they had a note about the reservation but for whatever reason it never got formerly placed in their system. In return, he created three amazing offers for us to choose from: 1) We could reschedule for the next day and eat for FREE 2) We could order off of the menu and they would DELIVER the food (40-minute drive) to us or 3) We could come in during the benefit and eat by ourselves in the restaurant.

We ended up coming in as scheduled (since it was a surprise) and had an amazing meal. Even though many influential people attended the party below us, the manager himself waited on us very attentively along with a designated waitress. He took an accidental situation that had the potential to tarnish his company's image and turned it into a unique and memorable experience. Having this amount of freedom as a manager coupled with his ability to create solutions on the fly is an exceptional situation to find. Kudos to the Culinary Center!