Where did valet parking originate?

Valet parking services go back — way back. In fact, it predates automobiles. Valet services began in the era when people would ride horses as the primary mode of transportation and over time, have become what we know it to be today.

What is a “Valet” Parking

The word itself dates back to the mid-14th century and at the time, meant “personal man-servant”. Today, the valet parking definition still holds true to its origins: 



  1. a man’s personal male attendant, responsible for his clothes and appearance.
  2. a person employed to park cars.
    “he handed his keys to the parking valet”


  1. act as a valet to (a particular man).
Bike valet services
Boat valet services

While the role of a valet can, and is, of course facilitated by both men and women, we still use the title “valet” when speaking about those who park vehicles for guests and visitors. Additional job functions may also include acting as a personal concierge to enrich the guest experience — something that top valet parking vendor, Gatsby Valet is known for.

The Father of Valet Parking

Herb Citrin, known as the Father of Valet Parking or Mr. Valet, is credited for modern day valet services. He began his valet parking company in Los Angeles in 1946, bringing professionalism to a business that had not previously been as valued. While he did not invent the concept, he certainly popularized it within North America.

Valet parking today

From horses to automobiles, valet parking today has been extended to vehicles such as bikes and boats. And, it’s about more than just the ease of finding a place to park your vehicle. It’s an extension of the experience of attending events, checking into hotels, dining at your favourite restaurant.

As with most other industries, technology today is impacting valet services. Guests can now enjoy a ticketless — and contactless — experience thanks to innovative new operating procedures from top tier valet service providers such as Gatsby Valet.