DINERS who likened their experience at a Taunton restaurant to something out of Fawlty Towers have been offered a free meal to make amends.

Bosses at Zizzi, in Magdalene Street, have apologised for failing to meet their normal high standards, which they put down to "unforeseen staff shortages".

A diner who visited Zizzi with a group of friends last Wednesday evening said her table was left waiting for an hour after their first course - which never actually arrived.

She said one member of staff told them the kitchen was "collapsing" before they decided to leave, with staff waiving the bill.

She added: "There was a real problem.

"There was a lot of people in the restaurant and everyone was having to wait ages.

"Some people were given the wrong meals.

"The staff were very apologetic and one of them said the kitchen was collapsing because there weren't enough staff.

"We'd had enough so decided to leave. They didn't charge us and took our phone numbers and e-mails so they could send us some vouchers.

"As well as that, there was scaffolding inside the building. It was all a bit like Fawlty Towers."

A Zizzi spokeswoman confirmed the company is offering vouchers to the unhappy diners.

She said: "Due to unforeseen staff shortages on a particularly busy day in the Taunton restaurant, we were unable to deliver to the usual high standards to which we pride ourselves on at Zizzi.

"On this occasion we offered diners a meal free of charge.

"We strive to offer the best customer service in all of our restaurants and are looking into this incident further to ensure standards are maintained in the future.

"We have contacted customers who were unhappy with the service they received on October 3 to invite them back into the restaurant to enjoy a meal on us."

It is understood that the scaffolding is in place due to a leaking roof - repairs in the listed building cannot be carried out without planning consent.