Business & Economy Food & Drink Miami News People of Miami

Preserving legacy, embracing innovation: Nicole Valls on navigating the iconic Valls family business

Versailles heir, Nicole Valls, shares insights on tradition, innovation, and the future of an iconic Miami landmark during Womens' History Month

Miami's cultural cornerstone, Versailles, stands as more than just a restaurant; it embodies a legacy woven deeply into the fabric of the city. In an exclusive conversation with Nicole Valls, a vital figure in the Valls family business, she shares the cherished history, challenges, and vibrant future of this iconic establishment. Embracing tradition while steering toward innovation, Nicole reflects on her role, family values, and strategies that have sustained and propelled the Versailles legacy for over 50 years.

A proud legacy, a cherished inheritance

Nicole Valls, an integral part of the Valls Group, exudes pride and reverence for the family's rich legacy. Established over five decades ago by her grandfather, Versailles has evolved into a symbol of Miami's cultural identity. Nicole's journey began at an early age, watching her family pour their passion into the business, laying the foundation for her active involvement.

After completing her business studies at the University of Miami, Nicole seamlessly transitioned into the family business. With the opening of La Carreta in Miramar, she has been involved in the daily operations, ensuring the continuation of the family's vision and legacy.

Family values pave the way for a family-centric culture

At the heart of the Valls Group's success lies a familial atmosphere akin to a mom-and-pop setup. Unlike traditional corporate structures, the Valls restaurants are tightly knit, fostering an inclusive environment where employees are treated as family. Nicole emphasizes the significance of this culture, where everyone feels familial warmth when stepping into their establishments.

While the family-oriented atmosphere brings closeness, Nicole admits to the challenges inherent in family-run businesses. The boundaries between work and personal life blur, making it a unique yet demanding environment. “It has its pros and its cons because you can never zone out and be like, you know, I'm not working right now.” She further added, “People should leave their work at work and not bring it home, but how do you do that when you live with work.” However, she acknowledges the pros and cons of such a setting. She also advised young entrepreneurs to consider these highlights and low lights of running a family business.

Nicole Valls in front of Versailles sign

Nicole Valls is innovating in a changing landscape while balancing tradition

Nicole vividly recalls the resistance to technology within the business a decade ago. She called it a “battle” as the older generation in her family questioned the need for having a website. “What do we need that for?” she recalled her grandfather and dad asking. That was 12 years ago!

However, as the market evolved, the family embraced change. Implementing websites, social media, and delivery services became pivotal in staying relevant in today's competitive market. She understands that a business, especially a brick-and-mortar restaurant, needs to provide content in order to show the world what it offers. While preserving the essence of their offerings, they also adapted to the preferences of younger generations. For instance, the restaurant works with third-party delivery apps and sites to deliver food to the community.

Despite embracing technological advancements, Nicole emphasizes the unwavering commitment to preserving Versailles' authenticity. The restaurant's menu, steeped in tradition, remains unchanged, offering classic Cuban cuisine cherished by patrons across generations. It's a delicate balance, ensuring the legacy endures while adapting to evolving consumer preferences.

Inside the restaurant Versailles

Envisioning the future and embracing change

Looking ahead, Nicole envisions a future where the Valls family continues to honor traditions while embracing change. The expansion of Café La Carreta's reach into retail markets and online platforms reflects their commitment to growth without compromising their roots. She expresses hope for Versailles to continue its legacy for generations to come, potentially even in a liberated Cuba.

Nicole reflects on pivotal moments, from celebrating sports victories of the Miami Heat and Miami Marlins in playoffs or the World Series to hosting historical events like Fidel Castro's demise. These instances highlight the restaurant's significance as a community hub, a space where people come together to celebrate, grieve, or mark significant moments in Miami's cultural tapestry.

As the conversation with Nicole Valls draws to a close, it's evident that her passion for preserving the Valls family legacy remains unwavering. With a perfect blend of honoring tradition and embracing innovation, she continues to steer the iconic Versailles toward a future that mirrors the spirit and essence of Miami itself.

Calle Ocho News invites readers to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Miami's vibrant cultural scene and the beautiful people of Miami. To businesses looking to promote their services, reach out to us for advertising opportunities and be part of Miami's diverse community.

Stay up to date with the latest news from Miami

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment