By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Midtown Sacramento restaurant workers are seeing graffiti signs with messages that read “Tip 100% or go home” – a sentiment most workers agree with as the pandemic continues to impact the industry.

Chris Barnum, the owner of Localis, said his staff has seen the signs around the neighborhood.

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“This is a really hard time for restaurants,” Barnum said. “I can appreciate the sentiment. We’ve gotten hit the hardest. It really does make a difference for people to tip.”

But some restaurant regulars said tipping for take-out just wasn’t done pre-pandemic, but now it’s the new normal.

“When we were at a restaurant in person we would always tip,” one Localis regular said. “It is something that’s important to us to make sure the servers are compensated fairly.”

For waitress Kriston Schultz, tips have been hard to come by, and she’s happy someone is secretly taking a stand.

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“They’re tipping still but it’s much lower than when they’re sitting and getting the full dining experience,” she said.

Schultz said minimum wage just isn’t cutting it.

“$13 an hour? It’s not liveable without tips,” she said. “The stress level of getting that next tip is awfully high.”

David Lang is an economics professor at Sacramento State. He said the pandemic has made the hospitality industry particularly unpredictable.

“People in the service industry who have come to expect tips in order to survive need them now more than ever. I get where some of those feelings are coming from,” he said.

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It’s unclear who’s responsible for the midtown graffiti.