If I were going to valet park my car and had a choice between a valet service that kept their keys in a portable kiosk, and a valet service that has a cashier behind a locked door, guess which service I would choose?
I would choose the service that has a cashier's booth... because the keys are more secure.
I follow news about the valet parking business. In the photo above, the valet attendant is nowhere to be seen. I was there. I took the shot. Those people were ready to go and they were annoyed to be delayed, and annoyed to not know how long it would take for a valet worker to arrive and assist them. They could have parked their car themselves and walked 2 or 3 minutes. Instead they chose to experience a luxury service, and then were inconvenienced with a wait.
Their server should have notified the valet to bring the car out as the guests were about to leave, so that the car would be waiting for them. It was a slow time. They certainly could have done that.
Anyway, no valet is there to guard the keys inside that kiosk. Probably the door to the key rack is locked. But a valet could easily neglect to lock it while running to retrieve a car. Especially a rookie valet.
Employee turnover in the valet business is high. In just a few seconds, a valet worker could easily use their smartphone to make a copy of a key at: keysduplicated.com
What if an aggrieved fired worker had made a copy of the kiosk key and sold it or gave it to somebody, along with insider info about how to take a car, or a bunch of cars?
It's not far-fetched. And valet companies aren't going to change the locks every time a worker leaves.
Criminals have distracted valets while their cohort grabbed keys from the kiosk.
Criminals have grabbed BUNCHES of keys from a kiosk when the right opportunity and timing struck. Once they have the keys, all they have to do is make their way to the valet lot and begin pressing key fob buttons.
There have been times when not one car was stolen, but two or three at the same time by a team of car thieves using this tactic.
A cashier's booth that is always staffed, where entry can be gained only through a locked door, is more secure. It is simply more difficult for a thief to get to the keys. Though a thief can easily just hop into a running car that is waiting to be moved. And a thief can easily pretend to be the owner of a car and con a valet into handing over the keys. This happens.
Valet parking services are not risk-free. But you can lower the odds of experiencing a problem by taking reasonable precautions. Know that kiosk valet stations are higher risk.