Houston Valet

HOUSTON VALET Valet parking makes sense in Downtown and Midtown where spaces are scarce, declares Katharine Shilcutt. But for restaurants with plenty of parking nearby, what’s the point? “Crave Sushi is an excellent case in point of a restaurant whose diners simply got fed up with forced valet parking and threatened to stop patronizing them. The owners had originally instituted valet as a means of thwarting Midtown clubgoers who were parking in their lot and then ambling off to Pub Fiction, leaving their Miata in Crave’s lot until 2 a.m. As honorable as their intentions were, however, guests at Crave didn’t appreciate having to pay extra for their meal (especially when Crave was still allowing the clubgoers to park in their lot, but for an additional $15). This week, however, the owners finally rescinded their forced valet following vociferous complaints. Instead, they’ve hired a parking lot manager who ensures that only Crave customers park in the lot. Not ones to eschew extra income, however, they still allow other Midtown patrons to park there for $10.” [Eating Our Words]

10 Comment

  • I hate all the forced valet in houston – its totally ridiculous to pay someone to park my car 10 feet from the door.

  • I simply don’t patronize restaurants with forced valet. Nope.

  • I’m with groovehouse – I just don’t go. Though I rarely go to places that offer valet anyway :P

  • I will not hand over the keys of any of my vehicles to somebody I don’t know. These valets are about as unscrupulous as any of us imagine. Those horror stories we’ve all heard about valets are true.

  • Totally agree. I just turn around whenever I pull up to a restaurant with a bunch of empty parking spaces blocked off by cones. The whole purpose of valet parking is to provide patrons with a convenience. However, it’s merely a huge inconvenience to have available spaces blocked off for valet parking. I have no idea why restaurant owners are doing this b/c it has to be hurting their business.

  • Are there any restauranteurs out there who can shed light on their reasoning for forced valet when plenty of easy parking is available? Is it because they want to limit their clientele to those who have enough money not to care?

  • It’s the valet themselves. When I was in the Food industry the two valet services I tried would not “run” that far. They lasted about two weeks each. When you visit other cities that is what the valet does,Runs to your car parked out back or in a lot down the street.

  • What gets me steamed is when an old codger takes up haute laundry parking so he and his old codgerly wife can go eat overvalued bistro food next door. Not that I can blame him though, I wouldn’t leave the beloved hooptie in the charge of immigrant valets.

  • I appreciate the convenience of valet parking in theory, but in practice, I’ve had some unpleasant experiences. Now if I valet park, I feel the need to disengage my house keys from my car keys (home address is provided by the insurance certificate in the glove box), and take everything of value with me — GPS, CDs, cell phones/chargers, even loose change has been known to “disappear”. This is no longer a convenience, IMHO.

  • Over in the comments of the original Houston Press article, a restaurateur, has replied saying that some landlords require valet parking but I don’t buy it.