Steamed barbecue pork buns at Yank Sing were $3.50 in 2005. Now they'll set you back $5.50. A Saturday night dinner at Chez Panisse was $75 back then — this coming weekend it'll stand at $125.

A lot has changed about dining in San Francisco since 11 years ago, where the Chronicle begins their price comparison of signature dishes at top Bay Area restaurants, and it's not just prices.

The whole game is different, as Kim Alter of Nightbird observed in conversation with Eater at a Golden Gate Restaurant Association panel discussion last night. "When opening a restaurant, we have conversations like, ‘Should we have Instagrammable light in here?’ and it’s mind-blowing because it’s about the food, but it’s changed in the last five to ten years in what you need to think about when opening a restaurant and how people eat now."

Tracking 22 dishes and prix-fixe menus from 14 top Bay Area restaurants since 2005, the Chronicle found that menu prices rose at about double the rate of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Bay Area consumer price index. While the consumer price index swelled 27.6 percent since 2005 and 13.6 percent from 2010 to 2015 and, the dishes the Chronicle watched went up in price by 52 percent since 2005, 26 percent since 2010, and even 7.5 percent just in the last year. But why?

"I've always said that if a line cook at a restaurant could make a fair living wage in San Francisco, no one would be able to afford to eat at a restaurant in San Francisco." Thomas McNaughton, the chef and owner of Flour+Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria, chimed in. With restaurateurs David Steele and David White, his Ne Timeas Restaurant Group also operates Trick Dog, Aatxe, and Cafe Du Nord. "The $26 entree turns into [the] $56 entree," McNaughton continued, "There are so many people in SF and NYC right now putting their necks on the line of essentially an experience of, ‘How do we make the economics of a restaurant work?’ It’s something I’d love to know the answer for myself."

Not to get all "Wage Labour and Capital," but San Francisco's rising cost of living has called for commensurate compensation for restaurant industry workers. To keep a place at the table, restaurateurs like Alter and McNaughton have difficult calculations to make.

Let's look at a hypothetical menu. Prices account for food costs, and across the board, those have gone up. Previously subsidized ingredients like beef, a story in itself, now bear costs more in line with their actual value.

Rent goes into the cost of a dish, too, and though some top restaurants own the buildings in which they operate, very many do not.

There's the profit margin you want — roughly 10 percent, maybe.

And then there's labor. That's the big one that's risen in several ways, with the Chronicle writing that "high prices are, in part, a measure of our political success," meaning with regard to labor laws.

Beyond wages, consider workers comp. San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance, est. 2008, says that businesses of 20 employees working eight or more hours per week require some health care compensation. For larger businesses that's $2.53 per employee per hour worked, and for smaller ones, it's $1.68.

"When you go out to eat, you’re not thinking about how much the chair you sat on cost," Kim Alter also said. "You’re not thinking rent is $12,000 a month. There’s a strong conversation about how much apartments cost per month, but not about how much restaurants cost per month. When they take that bite of food, a diner is not thinking about how much it costs to process that and pay your cook $25 an hour. You’re just thinking, ‘I can pay $2.50 for chicken at Safeway.’ It’s an education of people understanding what things actually cost."

Coincidentally, Zuni's Pilgram also has a point to make about Safeway chicken. "People sometimes ask, ‘If I can buy a [whole] chicken at Safeway for $6, why am I paying $50?’ Well, my chicken is better than Safeway’s. Then there’s the wood for the oven, there’s the person manning the oven — who is going to be making at the least $17 an hour — plus the linens, electricity, gas, the art on the walls, the building gets painted so it looks nice, there’s a cleaning crew, and at the end of the day, you go home and you don’t have to do the dishes.”

That famous chicken at Zuni, by the way, has gone from $28 in 1995 and $48 in 2014 to $54 in 2016.

Related: San Francisco Has Always Been A Pretty Expensive Place To Live