Missouri's many rivers -- especially the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers -- cut through its vast, fertile plains. At their many points of confluence, settlers founded numerous counties and homesteads. Although they never intended it, their work has led to bureaucratic chaos as cities such as Kansas City, lie over multiple counties -- creating a licensing and permitting debacle. Business owners in different parts of the same city can easily need completely different sets of local licenses -- making it more difficult to wade through the regulation than to ford the state's great rivers.
In Missouri, any business that serves food can endanger public health. That’s why restaurants are some of the most regulated businesses out there. Multiple state, county and city environmental health permits are common for restaurants. Those that serve alcohol need even more licensing. Prospective restaurateurs should expect to apply for at least five licenses and permits and in many cases much more.