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Jul 21, 2006 10:30 PM

LA Restaurant Valet Parking

Settle an argument, please. At better restaurants in LA, when the sign at the valet parking station states, for example, that the service charge is $4.50, should one tip beyond that amount, and if so, how much? A friend believes the tip is included in the service charge, but she's been getting a lot of dirty looks and door slams lately. Thanks.

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  1. Yes -- I usually do a dollar on top of that for normal places or places I know I'll never go again, and two dollars for really nice places.

    1. The service charges goes towards the rental of the lot the restaurant uses to park your car. Not necessarily all to the valet. Please tip! :)


      1. A dollar at least, sometimes two (depends on valet charge & service). I personally avoid valet at all times and opt for street or self-parking (using it only when I'm late). Then again, I own a 2000 somewhat-beat-up Corolla.

        PS I have a feeling that this will be moved to another board by the CH team.

        1. I always tip after I get my car, but when you think about it, the time to tip is when you drop it off.

          They're driving your car for cryin out loud. In my case, a truck that's tough to park. I don't want no dings or dents ... I'm thinking of tipping in advance from now on, just so they take care of the wheels.

          1. Tip 10-15% of the posted service charge.

            That being said, as a former valet, I NEVER valet my car.

            6 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Definitely tip on top of the service charge -- usually the service charge is either paying for the valet company's services (but not the valets), or for places like the Third Street Promenade, for the $3 service charge in the parking lots that you can use your own self.

                I try not to valet; my rule is look for parking for 15 minutes before valet parking, unless I know it's going to be impossible (Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, anyone?)

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Frankly, I think it's damn near impossible to find street parking anywhere near a decent restaurant in LA. I live in on the Wstside and my neighborhood luncheonette/diner Rob & Mary's on Westwood Blvd. offers valet at night. It's a very good little place place, BTW.

                  1. re: Hunter

                    Well, if it's a place you go to regularly-- it may be worth it to show up about 1/2 hour early one of those days and stake out any street parking spots nearby (and I'd say 98% of places do have street/public self-parking that's within walking distance).

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I'm with you! I NEVER valet park my car. If I'm going to dinner in Los Angeles (and I live here), I stay nearby and cab it to dinner. Not using the valet is based on several bad experiences, once where the valet couldn't put the car into gear. I could hear the gears grinding inside the restaurant. If you're gonna be a valet, please learn how to drive a stick. That's all.