Chef's Table - Gold key service

Ever wonder who takes your keys at a posh restaurant? Dan Hott is a managing partner at Valet America, which has parked cars for patrons of One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Piebar and Murphy's since 2002.

Some people don't like to surrender their keys to a valet.

We assure customers that their keys will be locked safely in a key box that is monitored by the valets. If the issue is the costumer's concern about their house keys, then the valet will suggest removing them and taking only the vehicle keys.

How many valets work for you?

I currently employ 35 valets who are the lifeline of our service. This number rises by 8 to 12 employees for every additional account.

Do you get many women who want to be a valet?

When I need more employees, I hang some "valets needed" fliers at the local colleges. The female response has been only two in three years. The male response can be as much as five times that in one day.

How much does a valet earn?

A valet's nightly income varies due to a few factors. Location, type of restaurant or club, the social demographics and the night of the week all play a role in the tip average per vehicle. A valet may earn between $12 and $20 per hour. The standard is typically $2-$3 dollars per car.

How much does rain screw things up?

I could talk all night about the detrimental severity of rain. However, to put it simply, it greatly challenges the entire system process that keeps the business of customer service running smoothly.

Do fancy cars get better treatment?

More expensive cars are given special treatment to limit the possibility of something happening to the vehicle. A $300,000 car can produce a large repair bill if it's even scratched. The side effect of having these vehicles nearby is usually a crowd pleaser.

Parked cars for any famous folk?

My favorite celebrity sighting came two years ago when Bono graced us at One Midtown Kitchen.


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