Food Safety Direct: Providing Support to More Than the Food Industry

Food Safety Direct is a small business and training center that has been providing support and certifications for the food industry for two decades. Teresa Garcia is the owner of Food Safety Direct and launched the business to contribute and support the food industry by providing flexible training and certifications required by state and local health departments.

“We make it our mission to provide support to the food industry in providing food manger certifications,” she said. “The [trainings] will provide them the information to serve safe food for their customers to keep them safe and healthy.”

Garcia began working in the food industry at just 14 years old in a variety of roles at both fast food establishments and full-service restaurants. In addition, before launching Food Safety Direct, Garcia worked for a major health care system in San Antonio for 20 years which eventually led to a turning point for Garcia.

“After that I was at a crossroads and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life,” she said.

In an effort to balance a career and the responsibilities of raising her two children, Garcia quit her job and launched Food Safety Direct. The company stemmed from not only from a need to find balance, but because of her vast experience in the food industry.

“Throughout the years I also realized that food managers do not have the time to be training employees,” she said. “I thought I should go ahead and do this to help support the industry.”

With two decades in operation, one of Garcia’s biggest successes is establishing and operating out of an office space. Food Safety Direct began out of Garcia’s home and eventually moved into an office space location. In December of 2019, Garcia left that location and began incubating out of the Maestro Center, a move that would prove beneficial for the business.

“It was one of the best decisions that I’ve made,” she said. “At the other location I didn’t have support, but here I do. This is why I’ve made it.”

More recently, however, Garcia experienced a few roadblocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wasn’t prepared, so I’m learning a lot because [I went] from being comfortable in my business to zero business in March,” she said.

As a provider of business support for the food industry, Garcia was able continue operations despite the many closures. Food Safety Direct faced initial struggles, but quickly found support from both clientele and various organizations.

“I have faith that I will continue with all the support I’m getting from the restaurants that continue to send their employees,” she said. “Maestro is also there to support me in anything that I need and I’m simply very grateful, thankful, and blessed.”

Ultimately, Garcia hopes one day to purchase a building to house offices, classroom space, and an event center to host parties and meetings. For now, Garcia is grateful to continue working to support those in need.

“Here I am 20 years later enjoying my work,” she said. “It’s such a blessing going to work and really looking forward to it and working with everyone that needs this help.”

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