Although new signs displayed at the Frontier Restaurant in September prohibit study groups, the policy has been in effect for the past 30 years.
Larry Rainosek and his wife Dorothy Rainosek opened Frontier in 1971 and have lightly enforced the no-study-groups rule ever since.
Larry Rainosek said that for the past 30 years, the restaurant has maintained policies about study groups during peak business hours, which are between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. But he said that the policies aren’t strictly enforced and that new signage is displayed when the old signs fall down.
“It’s kind of a hit or miss. We have put up the signs and then they might come down just because they get worn down and then we put them up fresh again,” he said. “It’s just a reminder … we don’t have to use it often, but every so often we have to do it, so when we ask someone to take their group somewhere else we have something to refer to.”
Larry Rainosek said that he and his wife have been lax about the policy and that restaurant managers are not overly vigilant about enforcing the rule. He said it’s often difficult to confront study groups because some people who study at the restaurant are also customers. “Obviously we always want to keep as many people happy as we can,” he said. “So that gets to be a little bit sensitive that you have to identify just how long they’ve been here and, if somebody’s walked up and they’re studying and they’re eating, obviously that’s not considered a study group.”
Frontier cashier Megan Horowitse said she hasn’t noticed that the policy has ever upset anyone but the policy is relevant to customers.
“I didn’t realize the sign bugged people,” she said. “If I was asked to leave I would be like, ‘What’s the difference between being here alone or with my family?’ I would just casually come in with my group, but I’m the kind of person who thinks I can get away with anything.”
Larry Rainosek said that students greatly impact his business. He attributes his success to the fact that his business has been a part of the Albuquerque community for so long and has become a place that people want to return to.
“We are surprisingly well balanced. During the Christmas holidays, a lot of these people that have been coming to Frontier and have relocated, they come back to see family, they come back to the University and we stay very busy during the holidays,” he said. “During the summer, we don’t drop near as much as you would expect.”
Larry Rainosek said students and other groups are respectful of the rule and that although the policy is in place, it is usually enforced on a case-by-case basis. He said that the policy is only necessary if the restaurant is too full.
“If it happens to be a weekend that’s not really busy and someone is studying, a lot of times students will have their computers set up,” he said. “But when we start running out of seats is when we will come out and ask the people to take their studying to the library or wherever, and we have almost 100 percent cooperation.”