The meal's typically lower price tag presents another headwind as chains must generate strong traffic to surpass expenses.
Still, many companies have piled into the arena lately—with innovation and promotions coming at the expense of dinner and lunch.
Promotions for new and limited-time breakfast items surged 70 percent for the first two months of the year, compared to the year-ago period, according to Technomic. During the same period, lunch and dinner promotions dropped nearly 13 percent. (Although it's worth noting that the number of lunch/dinner promotions dwarfs those of breakfast by a ratio of roughly 10 to 1.)
Boycotting breakfast—for now
Not every chain is looking to breakfast to boost sales.
(Read more: Chipotle of pancakes? IHOP developing new format)
Chipotle and Noodles & Co., two chains known for premium ingredients at fast food like speeds, are both sitting out the breakfast craze.
Following a test of breakfast items at some airport locations, Chipotle decided against continuing the expanded offerings. Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, wrote in an email that "breakfast is not a priority to us at this time."
"What we find is that our customers prefer their usual order (even in the morning) and have discontinued those tests," he added.
Noodles & Co. has also decided against breakfast for now after mulling the idea over, said its CEO and Chairman Kevin Reddy in an interview.
"We don't have that on the horizon in the near term, and that's because we think there's still opportunity to continue to grow the business at lunch and at dinner," he said. "We think it's better to stay focused on those initiatives and optimizing them before we add the complexities of a breakfast."
—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle.