BANGOR, Maine — Amber McIntyre had just delivered the check to three lunchtime customers at Pepino’s Mexican Restaurant two Tuesdays ago when she heard something that stopped her in her tracks.

“Why are you tipping her?” one customer said of McIntyre. “She makes $12 an hour now.”

The customers were wrong: McIntyre earns $5 per hour, up from $3.75 under the state’s new minimum wage law, which went into effect on Jan. 7. Yet the customers left a $5 tip on their $65 check, a bill that would normally draw at least a $9 to $13 gratuity, McIntyre said.

“I was not at the table, and they did not say it to me. I don’t even know if they know that I heard them,” the 38-year-old waitress said Friday, “but that’s why, as I look down the road, I am worried.”

The Kenduskeag woman is a member of Restaurant Workers of Maine, a 4,000-member group whose leadership plans to lobby state legislators to repeal the tip-credit pay increase built into the law, organizers said. Group members report increased meal and drink prices, layoffs of restaurant workers, and perhaps worst of all, customer confusion over the law.

Group members are organizing in Portland and in the Camden-Rockport area to press legislators for the repeal. About 60 people, including representatives from 22 Bangor restaurants, met on Jan. 25 in Bangor. Another hundred, including representatives from 40 restaurants, met on Monday in Portland, organizers said.

The Portland group’s attitude, said Wendyll Caisse, owner of Buck’s Naked BBQ of Freeport, Portland and Windham, was, “‘Look, I am good making my tips.’ They like the system that was in place. They feel they will lose money in a non-tip environment, which will be the eventuality.”

Before the law, minimum-wage workers got $7.50 per hour, and tipped workers got $3.75 per hour. Under the new law, tipped workers get $5 per hour in 2017 and another $1 per hour annually until they get $12 per hour in 2024. Other minimum-wage earners get an increase to $9 per hour this year and reach $12 per hour by 2020.

“We support a higher minimum wage,” Pepino’s co-owner Susan Stephenson said Friday. “It’s the dollar per year increase for tipped workers in the new law that concerns us. When the new wage [for tipped workers] gets to $6 or $7 per hour, restaurants are going to start to struggle to stay open.”

McIntyre blames the new law for her making less money last month than she got in January 2015 and 2016. Last month, she earned $1,881, compared with $1,894 in January 2015 and $2,568 in January 2016, she said. The January 2015 net total was lower than usual because of Pepino’s being closed for 12 days as it changed locations.

General Manager Dave Reesman of Blaze restaurant of Bangor said that the minimum wage increase has a more deeply adverse impact on eateries because they’re so different from other businesses. Lunch service on a slow day typically requires five workers, while a heavy evening or weekend shift could employ 20, he said.

The general manager of Umami Noodle Bar of Bangor, who identified himself as S. Bosse, said his base price increased by $1.26 for a bowl of noodles and 26 cents for an appetizer partly to help cover the pay increase for servers. The increase was the first in about two years.

“The tips people are giving are going down,” said Bosse, who supports changing the law. “The new law just encourages people to tip less.”

Stephenson said she cut down on Pepinos’ Sunday hours in response to the new wage law, which she said would have been better directed by giving restaurant kitchen workers a raise.

Other restaurant owners and a spokesman for the organization that backed the wage increase dismissed Restaurant Workers of Maine’s complaints.

McGinley Jones, co-owner of Lubec Brewing Co. and Sunrise Cafe in Lubec, said the real issue with the wage increase “is that it cuts into profits.”

“We are paying a fair wage here [$10 per hour to servers] because these people are members of our community and our friends. I don’t want to go on vacation when someone here can’t make their propane payments,” Jones said.

“If we can pull it off here with 1,150 residents in Lubec, you can do it anywhere in the state,” she said.

Mike Tipping, communications director for Mainers for Fair Wages, said that while “some high-end workers” are suffering some losses, the vast majority of restaurant workers in more rural Maine locations find the increase “incredibly important.”

“Even a small increase is important,” Tipping said, dismissing the complaints as disinformation.

The median wage for restaurant workers is $9.06 per hour, a paltry sum, Tipping said. Jones said many servers who support the wage increase aren’t stepping forward because they fear retribution.

Restaurant Workers of Maine, who protested the law in Bangor before the election, plan more group meetings, but no dates have yet been set.