Well the best way to get money and not have debt is to sell shares. You can set up the system to have initial investments of $5000 per share or $50000 per share. You will need to talk with a lawyer about the contracts. This is then paid back in dividends as the store provides a profit. If not then the risk is assumed on the investors.
One example of this type of funding is with the restaurant group, Islands. They are a privately held company that has seen substantial growth through this pattern of funding. They group two or more restaurants together and pay back the investment through a profit share. This has kept the company debt free.
The only issue you will see with this form of funding is finding people to trust you. You will need a great portfolio and business plan that will give trust to those willing to invest. Angel investing is also an avenue you can pursue but you will need to do your homework. Any way you do it you will have to have some great proposals and a strong business plan. With 9 out of 10 restaurants failing it is important to have every plan laid out before moving forward.
The economy can help you or hurt you. If you have a great product with a strong profit margin you may do great and win over investors who are looking for a stronger investment than the stock market. You will have to be able to sell you investors on the safety of investing with you. On the downside, new business in this economy will have a tough go at it, but if you succeed it will be a stronger company.