For example, I normally don't approach a table to take an order until everyone's menus are closed. This seems like a pretty reliable rule of thumb, no?
Not with me.
One, if I close the menu I'm only going to have to reopen it when you arrive so that I remember the cutesy name your restaurant has for, say, a club sandwich.
Two, unless I go to your restaurant with a particular dish already in mind, I usually narrow my options down to 2-3 items, making up my mind at the last minute.
What can I say, I like operating under pressure.
Just do what the majority of servers do:
Wait a few minutes, ask if we would like to start off with beverages, and at that time ask if we are ready.
I really don't have time to play charades with my menu and flatware as props.