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Valet tipping question

  • t

This may seem like a strange question, but how much $$ should you tip for restaurant valet parking? Do you tip on the way in to the restaurant or on the way out?

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  1. $1-2 each way.

    1. Depends on the car you drive. $1 or $2 when you get your car, if you drive a camry. If you drive a Ferrari, the sky is the limit.

      1. I usually give the guy $5 when he brings my car.

        1. $2.00 on the way out.

          1. d
            Das Ubergeek

            A buck or two on the way out... things that contribute to my waffling on the amount include things like length of time to wait for my car to be brought round. (I never tip at the Burbank airport, for example, because it always takes at least 30 minutes from the time I call to the time my car is brought round, but I tip heavily at the valet for Max in Sherman Oaks because they're practically psychic.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              A nice touch is if the restaurant asks for your valet ticket during the check-paying so that your car is waiting when you step out. Only place that's ever happened to us in LA was at Sona.

              p.s. you're so right about Burbank airport, people behind you in line get their cars first, inexplicable waits, the epitome of inefficiency in the valet trade

            2. Depending on the "swank-factor" of the place, my husband may tip both before and after. The "before" tip usually ensures good placement for quickly fetching the car after dinner. Yes, as someone already pointed out, the type of car factors in here as well. I have yet to see a whole line of Yugos out front of three star restaurants!

              One of my son's college friends parks cars on weekend nights at a high-end restaurant in a posh Detroit suburb. This same young man has an MBA and "real" day job requiring a suit, etc. He makes mid-5 figures parking cars -- no telethons for valets!

              Do what feels comfortable.

              1. People tip on the way out because their fathers did it. It makes no sense to me. You hand the keys to the second most expensive item you own and walk away. The person driving it is 18-21 years old and you expect him to treat it like you do. Give him $5 at the beginning, tell him to take care of it and then slip him a couple of bucks at the end if you feel generous.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ncchowdog

                  Kind of like tipping for the meal before you get the food, huh? Or maybe getting paid by your company for services to be rendered, instead of for work done.

                  1. re: Peter

                    i like the analogies, but let me ask...isn't that exactly what your employer does when he commits to a salary? Likewise those hated word on the menu "an 18% service charge will be added to all parties of 6 or more". The latter means lousy service to be expected.

                    1. re: ncchowdog
                      Das Ubergeek

                      Actually, the 18% service charge is because large groups historically tip terribly. I'm telling you this as a former waiter -- you get the 10-top who order $400 worth of food and go "Hm, $20's enough for the waiter." If you get crappy service, you call over the manager and dispute the service charge, or just refuse to pay it altogether (though in that case obviously you won't be welcomed back the next time, should you choose to return). You're still not paying it ahead of time.

                      As for your employer, he commits to paying you your salary but he doesn't actually pay you until you've done the work. At least, I assume that's how your work is... I've certainly never been paid in advance and I don't pay my employees in advance... you work, say, Monday to Friday and then get paid the following Thursday for that time.

                      Now, that said, you DO have a point that tipping in advance can make life better for you -- for example, when I was travelling on business, strategic tipping up front at my hotel made my life so much easier. In the case of a valet, I guess it would depend -- in cases where tipping in advance gets you a spot in the lot instead of on the street (with your doors unlocked and the keys in the wheel well), I'd do it.

                2. My DH used to valet in college. He got minimum wage, $3.35/hour plus tips... tips was collected from everyone at the end of the day and divided up between the parking attendents (if he went home early, they were SUPPOSED to make sure he gets a share, but that hardly ever happened especially since he wasn't a regular).

                  We stayed at a nice small hotel during our honeymoon for 7 days (small where they knew our names at the front desk when we left), and we tipped $1 when we handed over the rental car and $1 when we got it back. We have rarely used valets since then and generally tip $1 or $2 when we pick up the car.