Downey, California--Carl's Jr.'s new prototype looks nothing like a quick-service restaurant. Free from fast food's iconic bright colors, mansard roofs and brick exteriors, the triangular glass-and-metal building juts out of the cityscape.

The interior, laden with industrial finishes, is as contemporary as the exterior. Glass windows are sheathed in metal frames. Exposed ductwork and halogen lamps hover overhead. Metal-backed chairs are stamped with the Carl's Jr. star logo. Bright-blue counters, red condiment shakers, a mustard circle poured into the gray concrete floor and mustard booth fabric lend spots of color.

"We wanted to move away from fast food and more into a fast-casual feeling," says Andrew Puzder, president and CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc.

Also, the new prototype visually integrates the drive-thru and dine-in experiences, the drive-thru itself has been widened to accommodate SUVs, and the building meets so many green-building standards that Carl's Jr. is applying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council.

Carl's Jr. will expand the prototype, this year, to another California and a Utah location. Within four or five years, the prototype will become Carl's standard building. -Chain Leader