48% Of Fast-Food Fans Think This Is The Best Vanilla Soft Serve - Exclusive Survey

Although we often think of desserts as indulgences, there may actually be several benefits to enjoying sweets. According to Health Digest, the dairy from one cup of ice cream can provide nearly 1/5 of the daily recommended intake for vitamins A and B12, as well as a decent amount of calcium. These vitamins are thought to improve immunity and nervous system function, and calcium promotes healthy bone structure.

When you finish eating your food and find yourself craving a sweet treat to finish the meal off, there are quite a few places you can go to grab an ice cream. However, if you want to grab dessert where you had your food, or you just want to make a quick drive-thru stop, many fast-food places make it easy to grab a quick frosty snack.

In this exclusive survey, Daily Meal readers voted on where they go to grab their favorite vanilla soft serve ice cream — and nearly half of all the voters agreed that one specific place was the best.

One restaurant chain took almost half the votes

The top choice among more than 600 voters shouldn't be a surprise: Dairy Queen received a whopping 48.39%. Its vanilla soft serve can be used to create a variety of other treats, like sundaes, Blizzards, parfaits, and dipped cones (via Dairy Queen). In second place — though it can sometimes be hit or miss in terms of whether the ice cream machine is actually working — McDonald's claimed 23.79% of the votes. If you're craving a cup of its vanilla soft serve, there is a website — mcbroken — where you can check to see if your local McDonald's ice cream machine is functioning as normal.

Sonic came in third place, with 9.32%. The fast-food chain's menu includes a variety of ice cream treats that can be made using its soft serve, including milkshakes, sundaes, and Sonic Blasts. Close behind with 9.16% was Wendy's. However, its ice cream might look a little different, as the chain doesn't sell cones of soft serve, instead serving up Frostys, which are like thick milkshakes.

Chick-fil-A took fifth with 6.675% of the vote. The chain offers ice cream in cups and cones, or it can be made into a milkshake. If you're seeking a caffeine kick, it can also be blended with cold brew coffee to be turned into Frosted Coffee. In last place, with only 2.57%, was Burger King, which debuted its soft serve in 2011 according to HuffPost.

Soft serve has been popular for almost a century

Although ice cream has been popular in the United States since the 1850s, soft serve didn't make an appearance until 1926, when Charles Taylor invented an automatic ice cream maker in Buffalo, New York (via ColdSnap). The machine introduced air to the mix as the dessert was being frozen, making it softer than the hard-scooped ice cream people were used to.

In 1934, when Tom Carvel's ice cream truck broke down, he took the opportunity to sell the melting ice cream to customers. After his customers enjoyed the softer treat, Carvel decided to develop a formula for soft ice cream, and he opened up shop in the very spot where his truck had broken down (via Carvel).

Dairy Queen followed suit and opened its first location in 1940. According to Taste of Home, Dairy Queen initially only served soft-serve cones and sundaes, as well as ice cream in pints or quarts. The ice cream shop was certainly affordable, too — a cone of ice cream cost only a nickel, and a sundae only eight cents.